06 November 2009
Saint Francis de Capillas, Blessed Alfonsus Navarrete, and Companions, Martyrs
6 NOVEMBER 2009. Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Francis de Capillas, Blessed Alfonsus Navarrete, and Companions, Martyrs of The Far East.
Saint Francis, Blessed Alfonsus, and their companions were robed with the white robe of martrydom for trying to spread the Gospel to Japan and China in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
In Japan, Blessed Alfonsus Navarrete, a Spanish Dominican, was beheaded on 1 June 1617 in Omura. In 1622, nine other Dominicans were burned to death in Nagasaki. All told, from 1614 through 1632, more than 100 Spanish and Japanese Dominicans (novices, cooperator brothers, tertiaries, and confraternity members) were martyred for the faith.
Saint Francisco had labored for a number of years in the Phillippines before going to China in 1642. In China, Saint Francis de Capillas, also a Spanish Dominican, was beheaded in 15 January 1648. In the following century several Spanish Dominicans were also martyred in China, including Bishop Peter Sanz on 26 May 1747 and Bishop Francis Serrano along with the priests Joachim Royo, John Alcober, and Francisco Diaz on 28 October 1748.
Saint Francisco de Capillas was proclaimed Protomartyr (First Martyr) of China on 16 September 1748 by Pope Benedict XIV. Two centuries later, he was beatified by Pope Pius X on 2 May 1909. Still nearly another century after his beatification, he was canonized by the great Pope John Paul II on 1 October 2000.
Blessed Francis de Capillas was beatified on 7 May 1867 by Pope Blessed Pius IX.